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March 17, 2013


Maura Murray vanished February 9, 2004 - on my sister's birthday as it turned out. Within a few days as I said I would read a small news article about a young woman who had a car accident, left the scene and was never seen again. This happened in Haverhill, which I mistakenly took to be MA, rather than NH. That's a big difference as it wasn't a large city where she disappeared, but rather a small village, on an isolated stretch of road in the White Mountains.

Red Barn - Approaching the Crash Site going East

The Crash site; Note Yellow School Bus

A few hundred yards past the school bus

Entering White Mountains National Forest - A mile past

It was about 7:30 that cold night... no one knows if Maura was there as part of a plan, or if she took a wrong turn somewhere earlier. No one even knows what she was doing away from campus where she was a nursing student, 100 miles north of the U-Mass campus in Amherst. All that is known is that she was on break. She had wrecked her father's car a few days earlier and was stressed out. She was engaged to be married, and everyone agrees her and her fiancee were happy together. All her stuff was pack at her college dorm as she was moving out. She had withdrawn money on her way out of Amherst and had stopped in NH to purchase a good quantity of alcohol - wine, Kahlua, etc... She had also done computer searches of areas west in Vermont, but had called several locations for weekend lodging in the direction she was traveling.

People home that night just north of the one car crash reported hearing the sound of the crash as she hit a snowbank. Other observers reported a red truck in the area. The people who heard the crash called 911, but didn't go outside to investigate. But the driver of the school bus was returning home after dropping off students on a ski trip, stopped beside her car and the driver spoke to who he believes was Maura. He says she was okay, and offered to call the police, but she said she was fine and requested he not do so. He drove home, parked and called 911.

Woodsville police arrived shortly later, footsteps led east to around the bus drivers house and disappeared. A quantity of alcohol was seen investigating her car, and what appeared to be spilled wine. The driver's side airbag was deployed. It was freezing cold, yet no search east of the crash-site was conducted that night, although by then other law enforcement was on the scene including Fish and Game.

Many theories were devised, including deep suspicion of the bus driver who lived with his mother, as well as a man who was questioned living just south of the crash-site. Law enforcement however concluded she'd devised an elaborate plan to run away, that she was seriously intoxicated and committed suicide. An unusual side-note occurred when the fiancee received a strange phone call while waiting in line at an airport terminal, a call he didn't answer. A voice-mail was left from someone sounding frightened. It was traced as having been sent from a local area Red-Cross.

Her father, Fred Murray, spend every weekend for many years searching for her. I got involved as the family got in touch with Brianna Maitland's family after she disappeared. That was nearly a year later however, as I didn't get involved helping Brianna's family until late fall of 2004.

Fred Murray appealed to the State of NH many times for assistance and access to Maura's things and her computer which they had seized as evidence. They had temporarily returned everything once concluding nothing criminal in nature had happened, being as they concluded she committed suicide. But then in a strange twist they re-assumed possession of her things while the family was grieving, and refused to offer access to the stuff. Then Attorney General of NH, Kelly Ayotte refused every attempt Fred Murray asked for to assist him with finding his daughter. She refused to admit anything criminal had taken place, and wrapped the case up tight for reasons she would not disclose. Kelly Ayotte is now a NH Senator, someone I will not and did not vote for.

After she left office, the case was included by the new Attorney General in a newly formed Cold Case Unit. Searches were conducted on numerous occasions  and blood believed to be hers was found in a dilapidated house down the road from where she vanished. I went with Fred Murray on a one day search in the summer of 2005. I found him to be most sincere, professional, rational, and dedicated. We were investigating a tip to Maura's website to me, that her body could be found on private land in a well. We looked, with the help of a  volunteer with state of the art underwater video equipment and found nothing.

Her disappearance remain unsolved...

Pictures of her car:

Brianna Maitland in Part Three...


  1. "Woodsville police arrived shortly later, footsteps led east to around the bus drivers house and disappeared." What is the source for this statement. I have been following this case for years and have read everything on the subject and this is the only time I've heard that there were footprints leading past Atwood's house.

    1. Nicholas; this is common knowledge, whether from a news article or since years ago I participated in the Maura Murray website. I am not creating myth. This doesn't implicate the bus-driver... the footsteps were noted by observers there that night, which included the police, that footsteps led from her car, east towards the bus-driver's house, and just past it, where they stopped.

      We are well beyond whether that was real or not as she has never been found and obviously the state is going to do nothing. Except hold the family hostage and forever on edge.

      It's true, I moved out of NH after 30 years, because District attorney's like Kelly Ayotte and the way she handled the Murray case made me too nauseous to stay there.

      Much of the Maura Murray case has been stretched and distorted, is about to be lost... but the footsteps in the road, I'm quite certain that's recorded fact.

      Appreciate the comment and question Nicholas!